Wetherby – Askern, Sunday 15th October 2023, 50 miles

Destination: Askern
Riders: Graham, Bob J., Nick (reporter)

Family commitments, International Rugby and possibly an early morning frost could have been responsible for a lot of “I’m not out”s on What’s App but What’s App isn’t the whole story and when I arrived in The Shambles I found Graham and Bob waiting for me. It came to 9.00 and we weren’t expecting anyone else so the small group agreed to stick to the destination on the runs card, ( which had been printed almost a year ago), and set off. Bob is always a good source of alternative routes and the first of these came when we left the A63 at the Stone Lions to go thro’ Lumby, missing South Milford and Monk Fryston for Hillam. Like on Thursday, in spite of the chill, the sun was shining brightly and on the flat land between Hillam and Birkin we had 180˚ of clear blue sky. Riding side by side for a bit, Graham and I shared recollections of the Cornish village which he had just visited on holiday. Since I was last there when I was 6 years old, his recollections had a bit more detail than mine. The village is now very famous thanks to a TV series. ( Port Isaac – Doc Martin)
So….. Birkin for coffee. It was full of cyclists out for the nice weather and we were met by an acquaintance of Bob’s, who regaled us with stories of the Audax tribe. Quite a lot of stories actually.
Bob’s second diversion of the day took us towards Askern via the road to Barnsdale Bar. It added a mile or so and included a reasonable climb but I thought it nicer than our usual and would look forward to using it again.
The Lakeside Café was also busy but with the locals out for a cheap (very) lunch with grandparents, mums and babies and children. Askern doesn’t look like it has benefitted yet from any government’s “ levelling up“ programme. However, the planners must know something we don’t because they are building 4 large detached houses with balconies looking straight over a second-hand car lot.
Riding home seemed pretty hard with a headwind – at least, I thought so – but getting back to Wetherby, the sun was still up there and we reckoned we had had a good day.